DEVELOPING: Pennsylvania Voters Line Up to Cast New Ballots as GOP Loses Lawsuit to Block Voters From Fixing Mail-In Ballots with Incorrect Dates
Pennsylvania voters are lining up to cast new ballots after GOP efforts to block voters from fixing errors on their mail-in ballots failed.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court last week invalidated thousands of ballots because of incorrect or missing dates.
Thousands of Pennsylvania voters were notified of the errors and given a chance to fix their ballots.
The line at City Hall in Philadelphia ‘snaked outside the building,’ according to the Washington Post.
The Washington Post reported:
Six days after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court invalidated thousands of mail-in ballots in response to a Republican lawsuit, citizens in Philadelphia and other parts of this battleground state scrambled to cast replacements so their votes will be counted on Election Day.
Kirby Smith said after he and his wife were told that their mail ballots would not count, because they were missing dates, they stood in line for two hours at Philadelphia City Hall to cast replacement ballots, missing much of the workday.
“Oh I’m going to vote. It’s not a question,” said Smith, a 59-year-old Democrat who said he viewed the court decision as part of an attempt to block people from voting. “I’m going to fight back.”
Multiple judges have ruled over the past two years that mail ballots returned on time by eligible Pennsylvania voters should be counted even if they lack a date on the outer envelope. Republicans sued in October to reverse that policy, arguing that it violated state law. Last Tuesday, they won a favorable ruling from the state Supreme Court, which directed counties not to count ballots with missing or inaccurate dates.
That decision triggered a sprawling volunteer-run effort to make sure voters who had already returned their ballots knew that their votes would not count if they didn’t take action.
Nowhere has that effort been more intense than in Philadelphia. On Saturday, city officials published the names of more than 2,000 voters who had returned defective ballots and urged them to come to City Hall to cast a new ballot in the few days remaining before Election Day. Community activists and volunteers for the Democratic Party and the Working Families Party began calling, texting and knocking on people’s doors to get the word out.
On Monday, the line to cast a replacement vote at City Hall snaked outside and into the building’s courtyard as volunteers supplied snacks and bottled water, according to voters and activists.
GOP efforts to stop voters from being able to fix their ballots have failed so far.
The Monroe County Republican Party sued to block elections officials from notifying voters whose mail-in ballots included errors to help them fix their ballots before Election Day.
A Pennsylvania judge on Monday blocked the GOP effort to stop elections officials from sorting through the mail-in ballots and helping voters fix their ballots.
“Given that our Supreme Court’s policy has been to enfranchise the voter when interpreting ambiguous statutes and considering the Commonwealth Court’s recent decision on this very subject, I find that MCRC has not shown a strong likelihood of success at this very early stage of litigation,” wrote Monroe County Court of Common Pleas Judge Arthur L. Zulick, according to Fox News.
The judge said issuing an injunction one day before Election Day would cause harm.
“I do not find that MCRC has a clear right to relief in view of the recent Commonwealth Court decision, and I find that at this point after 150 to 175 voters have been advised that their ballot has been canceled and that they have an opportunity to file a correct one, it would adversely affect the public interest to grant the injunction,” the judge continued.
Meanwhile the Fetterman campaign is suing the Pennsylvania Secretary of State’s office to allow misdated and undated ballots to count.